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Rice is Life /twelve



Long before recorded history, people used buckets and pots to lift and carry water from its source. Wheels and paddles also were employed. The devices could be powered by humans or animals, by wind, or by the water itself.

While the developed countries use a sophisticated automatic sprinkler system, Vietnam — the country with 2,360 rivers including 9 big river systems and total water resource of more than 10,000 km2 — still have a leaky 5-gallon bucket for irrigation. Even though the total surface water flowing across Vietnam territory is 835 billion m3, its water resource is located unevenly in terms of time and space. Dry season lasts up to 7 - 8 months a year with rain falls accounting for only 20-30%; while rainy season lasts 4-5 months making up 70-80% of total rain falls a year. The disadvantageous allocation regularly create drought in dry season and dangerous flood in rainy season. That’s why irrigation plays a very important part in moderating water resource in Vietnam.

Agriculture is the most important part of the economy. Due to extensive irrigation, Vietnamese grow two or three crops of rice per year while most of the farming work in the rice paddies is handled manually, even the irrigation method with two people holding a bucket by two strings between them. They swing the bucket back and forth, dipping it into the irrigation canal on the back swing and then emptying the bucket into the field on the forward swing.

For the Vietnamese, their rice paddies are so important and they want to be close to them after they die. For this sensitive reason, there are small family cemeteries mixed with the rice fields: people want to get buried where they lived and worked.



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